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Protect Children From a Hidden Home Toxin
From:
Debra Holtzman, J.D., M.A. -- Child Safety Expert Debra Holtzman, J.D., M.A. -- Child Safety Expert
Hollywood , FL
Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Debra Holtzman
 
"Radon is a leading cause of lung cancer, second only to cigarette smoking", says National Child Safety Expert Debra Holtzman J.D., M.A, http://thesafetyexpert.com, the best-selling author of  "The Safe Baby: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Home Safety and Healthy Living" (Sentient Publications).  In fact, it is estimated to cause about 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States.

Debra Holtzman recommends learning about radon and following these tips to keep your family safe:

1. What is radon? It is an invisible and odorless gas that occurs naturally from the breakdown on uranium. It can be found in soil, rock and air. When breathed outdoors, this gas poses a minimum health risk, but when it becomes trapped in buildings, concentrations build up which can be cause for concern. If the radioactive decay products of radon get trapped in your lungs, they can damage the live cells lining the lungs. Years of this damage can lead to lung cancer.

2. How a home was built and what construction materials were used can affect radon levels. Local geography is another contributing factor. Every state has pockets of high radon levels. Because levels vary from one area to another, the only way to know a specific home's radon level is to test it. It is also possible for your home to have an elevated radon level while a neighboring home does not.

3. Radon can enter your home through openings around water pipes, gas pipes sump pumps and drains, and it can also enter through cracks and holes in the walls and foundation. The water supply is another possibility.

4.  Test the Air in your home. Because of the serious health threat posed by radon, the EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon.  Fortunately, testing is easy and inexpensive. Your local health department may offer free kits or kits at a reduced price. You can also purchase kits at a local hardware or home improvement store. Insist that your child's childcare center or school be tested.

5. Don't despair if testing indicates elevated levels of radon in your home. There are a variety of ways to lower radon levels.  Your state's radon office can provide you with a list of qualified radon mitigation contractors. The cost for reducing radon levels in existing home typically range from $800 to $2500.

6. If you have tested the air in your home and found a significantly high radon problem, it may be a good idea to test the water, also, as a possible source of radon entry. If you are on a public water supply, call your utility company for more information. If your water comes from a private well, contact a lab that is certified to measure radiation to test your water, especially if you live in an area that is known to have high levels of radon in water.

7.  If the potential is high for radon in an area in which you plan to build a new home, you can have radon-resistant features installed during construction. The average cost to install radon-resistant features during new home construction is $350 to $500 but the cost can be as low as $150, depending on the type of home construction. This is the best and most cost-effective approach in any home, anywhere.  Even if build radon –resistant, every new home should be tested for radon after occupancy.

For more information on radon visit http://epa.gov/radon/  Remember, testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon.

Debra Holtzman has a law degree, an M.A. in occupational health and safety (OSHA), a B.A. in communications and over fifteen years experience in the child safety and health field. She teaches infant and toddler safety and CPR at a South Florida hospital and is a certified child passenger safety technician. Debra has made hundreds of media appearances including ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, NBC's The Today Show and Discovery Health Channel, and was named an "Everyday Hero" by Reader's Digest. Her award-winning book, "The Safe Baby: A Do-it-Yourself Guide to Home Safety and Healthy Living" (Sentient Publications) offers parents easy-to-implement solutions and cost saving tips to keep children and pets safe and healthy.

Follow Debra Holtzman on Twitter https://twitter.com/SafetyExpert_


 
Debra Holtzman, J.D., M.A.
Hollywood, FL